The Griffiths House 1922
Cultural Heritage Value
This stone house that has occupied the extreme northwest corner of Lot 52 in the former Township of Thorold for some 90 years is a greatly significant link between the early history of Thorold Township and its changing face in the 20th century. Indeed part of the house sits atop land originally set aside more than two centuries ago for a possible township road.
The architectural style of this house is predominantly Colonial Revival but features elements of other styles as well, apparently the choices and preferences of the original owner/builder George Griffiths who designed the house himself, bringing together an eclectic and harmonious mix of style elements that collectively give the house its individuality. Colonial Revival style was largely based on the English colonial architecture of the 13 Colonies. 1840 DeCew Road much resembles the Dutch colonial style – particularly with its roof that flares out at the eaves.
This house is unique in its use of stone as the building material for the first storey. The French doors flanking the central front door are more typical of Victorian or Regency Cottage styles, while the porch, portico and entranceway are Neo-Classical. The house is constructed of limestone which came from the ruins of the roadhouse which once stood at the intersection of Beaverdams and DeCew Roads. This stone presumably came from one of the old Thorold quarries. The upper part of the house is clad in siding. The two stone chimneys on either side of the house have been reconstructed from the roof line. The French storm doors in the front of the house were also restored.
This home was built on land once part of one of Thorold Township’s many prosperous homestead farms, but this property, since 1922, has been residential and not agricultural. Home to members of the Griffiths family for the better part of the 20th century, the house is particularly notable for its long association with this intriguing family of socially concerned and active community builders, particularly Gertrude Knapp, socialist and activist, whose ongoing and valuable contribution to her community’s political and social development received local and provincial recognition.